As many know, mobile advertising has already taken the first steps into an era of explosive growth, and forecasts today continue to be doggedly optimistic. And why shouldn’t they be? Over 100 million smartphones were sold in the fourth quarter of 2010 alone, which easily outpaced the number of PCs sold over the same quarter. People are flocking to smartphones literally by the millions, and as a result, mobile technology is evolving at a relatively blistering pace. Not unsurprisingly, mobile advertising is being brought along for the ride. For example: Gartner expects mobile ad revenue to hit $3.3 billion by the end of 2011, more than double revenue in 2010 — and to hockey-stick to $20.6 billion by 2015.
What’s more, you may remember Eric Schmidt saying in a keynote back in February, that mobile growth is happening quicker than anyone imagined, outpacing even the expectations of those optimistic parties at Google and beyond.
Founded in 1999, Augme Technologies is an under-the-radar company that, over the last few years, has quietly built a mobile marketing technology platform that may see it become a big player in the mobile technology and marketing boom. The platform, called Ad Life, allows marketers, brands, and agencies to plan, create, test, deploy, and track mobile marketing programs — with the most noteworthy feature of Augme’s patented technology being the fact that it is able to reach targeted groups while remaining device-agnostic.
Ad Life has seen several iterations over the years, and today Augme is announcing version 4.0 of its platform: A software-as-a-service model, built on an API architecture that’s designed to be compatible with any-size enterprise and customizable for contextual mobile user experiences. The software platform is also happens to be built on Augme’s proprietary mark-up language that has “site builder” capabilities, which allows this automated delivery of ad content to nearly every 3G and 4G smartphone in the market today, according to Augme Founder Anthony Iacovone.
It does through the use of consumer response tags (CRTs), including 2D codes, UPC codes, SMS, and Image Recognition, enabling brands to track and analyze marketing campaign results. Using its patented device-detection and proprietary mobile content adaptation software, Ad Life takes some of the hassle out of the challenges inherent to the industry, especially in relation to the many disparate OSes, device types, and on-screen mobile content rendering.
As mobile technology evolves, brands and advertisers are often subject to fragmentation and, not only that, but they struggle to keep pace with the evolving technology while keeping costs at bay, especially while trying to avoid rebuilding their mobile infrastructure every few years. As a SaaS platform, AD Life helps mobile advertisers avoid infrastructure obstacles, as enterprises have the ability to go mobile by customized rendering for mobile web content, while delivering and managing coupons, rebates, social connections and all that good (read: annoying) stuff, through the platform’s API.
Unsurprisingly, Iacovone said that the Augme team is likening Ad Life 4.0 to MaaS, or mobilization as a service — for ads. “The mobile marketing industry as a whole has been stuck in a 1.0 version of fragmented technology”, the Augme Founder said. “With Ad Life 4.0, we’re trying to redefine mobile marketing by connecting mobile technology to every facet of an organization’s core marketing functions through robust APIs, while providing deep measurement and consumer interactivity that talks with data warehouses and CRM systems”.
Poised as it is within a hot growth sector, Augme will definitely continue to be a company to watch, especially for investors, as the company has traded publicly on Over the Counter Bulletin Board since 2002. While revenue in 2011 was $2.8 million, Augme management expects revenue to push $16 million in fiscal 2012 — and that the company will in turn achieve positive cash flow next year.
What’s more, the company’s customers currently include four Fortune 100 companies, six Fortune 200 companies, and four Global Fortune 500 companies, and earlier this year, Augme announced a contract with Smartsource.com, NewsCorp’s division focused on coupons, to help lead the company’s push into mobile coupons. Kellogg has also been using Ad Life to directly engage with consumers by providing enhanced content for mobile devices, using a number of campaigns involving QR codes and SMS keywords — all of which have been successful.
If Augme continues to expand its list of blue-chip clients and take advantage of its bullpen of patents, the company could very well be at the forefront of the mobile advertising boom, and a potential industry leader down the road. Definitely long on Augme.
For more on the Ad Life platform, check out the landing page here.